Saturday, December 4, 2010

Fear in the place of Form

Peter Here;

Last week I was kicked hard in the mouth during training, and it split my lips open. the force wasn't intended, and the risk is part of the chances you take when you practise a contact sport or budo art like Karate. In fact, I am actually quite happy it happened, and I'll explain why.

The simple thing is, I have been afraid of getting hit and it tends to show in my form whenever I feel I am facing a stronger opponent. Arakawa Sensei notes that my weight is on my back foot and I turn my head far too much (he even penalises me in training because of it), and the fear ruins my kamae and speed.

But what is it about being hit that I am afraid of? Part of it is that I am afraid of the damage it could cause. I have been injured heavily a couple of times before but then I have to accept that this can happen to anyone who does this kind of sport. But the main reason is just the fear of how much it could hurt at the time of impact.

The problem with fear is that it makes a wonderful magnifying glass, taking any worry or concern and then multiplying it many times until it becomes irrational. One hit could really hurt a lot, my fear told me.

Particularly with lower grades and members who 'cross train' in popular full-contact sports in the UK, people are more likely to hit harder than karate students in Japan. This could be due to physiological reasons (they are generally bigger people), lack of controlled contact training, or just the belief that other students can 'take the hits' and that it is character building (this kind of 'Kibishi' or 'hard training' has it's place, but there must always be control, particularly in WKF Sport Karate- it is not MMA or Kyokushinkai)

So, when I was hit in the mouth, although it hurt a lot it didn't hurt as much as I was worried it could. The magnifying glass was, if not broken, at least a little chipped.

Now I can focus more on my form for the next tournament!

No comments: